The Hyphen: Reading Recs & Reflexology ✨

Hi friends—

Hope all is well,

A couple of years ago I discovered reflexology (a touch therapy based on the theory that different points on the feet correspond with different areas of the body.) I got into the rhythm of having a one hour-long session every month — and have been going to the same place for just over a year. I go to a local place where a percentage of each payment goes towards the local community so that they can offer free or discounted treatments and osteopathy to those who need it. It has that warm community feel (albeit it is now sanitised, masked and socially-distanced), in a pretty bare studio space — no lavender scented luxury towels or cucumber water. It is very basic and stripped back. I like how it’s not trying to be anything other than what it is.

The woman who does the reflexology sessions is called C (abbreviated to keep her privacy). I hadn't seen C since February, for obvious reasons, and I found myself thinking of her in lockdown and missing our sessions. I realised it wasn't just the reflexology I missed, it was having a person removed from my life, who didn't actually know anything about me, who I could talk to about anything. Obviously I talk to my friends about all sorts — but it would be impossible for them to offer purely objective advice. C’s questions were mainly only centred around how I'm feeling right now, and what she's sensing through my feet. From touching my feet, she has predicted when specifically I will get ill — e.g. she’s given me a heads up on a UTI that I’ll get a week later (and I did) or a horrible cold waiting to erupt in the next few days (which came to the day she specified) and from one prod she can tell exactly where I am in terms of my monthly cycle. All from my feet. Spooky but kind of not.

Some people may roll their eyes and think reflexology is just a glorified foot massage, and I respect whatever anyone wants to think. But as my body twinges and responds to the areas she pushes on my feet, I know it's doing something, it's releasing something. Sometimes during our session I fall half asleep and a flicker book of memories would appear, ones I thought I'd wedged right down, ones I thought would never appear again. It seems to bring things to the surface.

I had my first session post-lockdown this week. I was reunited with C. We smiled through our facemasks, our eyes wrinkling. I commented on how her hair had grown, she asked how things have been with me. I told her I'd been doing loads of exercise recently. I’m fine, thanks.

After the session, she said she could sense a build up of sadness, fear and anger in the crystallised deposits in certain areas of my feet. I acted surprised. Really?

We've all been bottling it up this year, she said.

On the walk home, I went through all the things I had tried to push away recently, and she was right. Anger. No— rage. Sadness. Fear. Guilt. All of it.

I took a detour home and went on a long walk and let it all out. Felt it all. Feelings exist, so let them. Better out than in, always.

Feel free to drop me a line with what you’d like to see more of in this newsletter at

Emma xo


What’s New on Ctrl Alt Delete Podcast?

Martha Beck is a Harvard-trained sociologist (just the casual three degrees from Harvard) and a world-renowned coach Most famously she's been Oprah's life coach and writes a column for O Magazine.

In this episode we talk about her background, life as a coach, her new book, how her love of nature & animals led her back to her true self, how to analyse dreams and how we can all have a bit more magic in our lives.

Available across all pod apps now.


Another pod recommendation:

Award-winning BBC broadcaster, journalist and teacher Alvin Hall hits the road alongside activist and former attorney Janée Woods Weber. They drive from Detroit to New Orleans, collecting powerful, personal testimony about how Black Americans used the historic travel guide The Negro Motorist's Green Book during the height of segregation. Every person Alvin interviews talks about the connections between that fraught period of US history and today's struggle for racial justice. You can listen here.


Things I’ve Consumed This Week:

— The Slumflower has logged off
— You’re not the only one feeling “meh” right now
— Gen Z On What It’s Like To Be Young & Black In Britain Today
— How To Build Closer Relationships
— Are All My Friends Mad at Me?
— Books to restore hope in humanity
— How Michael Rosen’s near-death experience has changed him
—House therapy can help you fall in love with your home again
— Paris Lees On The Life-Changing Power Of Going Mad
— The debate: should you read books in the bath?

Keep Moving by Maggie Smith
Aroha by Hinemoa Elder
A Spell In The Wild by Alice Tarbuck


P.S. My book SABOTAGE: Quieten Your Inner Critic is available now!


An interesting conversation between ‘accidental entrepreneur’ Sophia Amuruso and Chase Jarvis on the art of reinvention. An honest conversation between the two of them about how Sophia has recently stepped away from Girlboss to launch something new and how her definition of success has drastically changed.

I can’t stop thinking about this incredible conversation between Marie Forleo and Dr. Edith Eva Eger who survived the Holocaust, and is now an eminent psychologist PTSD expert, and wrote her first book aged 90. It is an extremely emotional and powerful listen. Listen here.

It’s Black History Month! I’ll be checking out Aké Festival which is the world’s largest festival of Black Voices. For the first time in 2020 Aké Festival is going digital and will be free for all. It will be the largest gathering of black voices on the planet in 2020. For anyone wanting to engage with black writing and black voices, visit:


For those wondering who my mystery life coach is….

I cryptically mentioned that I was working with a life coach in a recent newsletter I got lots of emails wanting to know more — I’m currently working with the brilliant Selina Barker. She is fantastic and I’ve really got a hold of some of the changes I want to make through her brilliant sessions.

“Over the course of the five months you’ll uncover the unique ingredients that you need to feel happy and fulfilled in all that you do and you’ll start to fill your life with those ingredients.”

More info HERE!


Click here to join 55,000+ students by signing up to my Skillshare class! "5 Exercises To Build Creative Confidence"


Thanks for subscribing! I'm Emma, the person behind this newsletter. I am the bestselling author of The Multi-Hyphen Method, SABOTAGE, my debut novel OLIVE (a no.1 Apple audiobook!) and creator of the hit podcast series Ctrl Alt Delete. You can also follow me on Instagram here, and Twitter here.

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